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July 2006 Archives

July 1, 2006

Again with the nine old men

Here's Bob Kuttner, grub street tribune and stentorian jackass, playing lesser evil huckster bird. First he scares the be-jeebes out of the googoo rubes with this warble:
The rule of law now hangs by a thread. It depends on the health of an increasingly frail 86-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, and the willingness of the Court's inconstant swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, to side with the Constitution.
Then after showing the tattered remnant of our personal freedoms under bushisaurus rex, he closes with the Orthrian donks-to-the-rescue pitch:
Only when Bush and his allies are soundly repudiated at the polls can we rest a little easier.
"Rest a little easier" -- geeeez, please! Even say it happens like he implies, and we get a respite, a pause, a rest stop on the railroad to hell -- how soon before it's back in motion, maybe with a donkey at the throttle?

I suspect i'm not the only person tired of the musty old joke about "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." The donks don't kill wall streets sharks, they just relieve 'em for a few innings, long enough to get their fast ball back.

Broadcast flag waving

p2pnet.net had a wonderful item about Kosnik sweetheart Barbara Boxer's sedulous support for the Broadcast Flag. A few excerpts:
The audio flag provision, written by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), has the full support of the Recording Industry Association of America....

By a startling coincidence, [media] cartel support for Boxer is rising.

This year she's so far received a massive $750,660 from the movie, music and tv industries, says opensecrets.com. In the 2004 cycle, she clocked up $740,260, and in 2002, $485,340.

Full disclosure: p2pnet also picked up a thing of mine that originally appeared on CounterPunch.

Bloosmday, a little late

The New Republic (yes, the New Republic!) reports:

by Ben Smith

This isn't the first time that Bloomberg has privately flirted with a 2008 bid. But what makes a Bloomberg candidacy look increasingly real is that he has also begun to think about the mechanics of running. New York p.r. eminence Howard Rubenstein recalls Bloomberg putting a price tag on his Oval Office ambition at a dinner party in April: "I could easily put up half a billion," the mayor had said, naming a figure over one-third higher than the Bush campaign's spending in 2004.

...Unlike Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, and George Pataki--and like another diminutive self-made billionaire--Bloomberg is thinking of running as an Independent.

Well, I never thought I'd have a good word to say for the tiny poison toad Bloomberg. But if he gets a third party oar in the water in '08 and disrupts business as usual a bit, I'll promote him to a higher circle of Smith's Inferno.

July 3, 2006

Frick vs. Frack

Somebody tell me what this ridiculous batrachomyomachia between Rahm Emanuel and Howard Dean is really all about. Supposedly it's a battle between a "50-state" strategy (Dean) and a "targeted" strategy for '06 (Rahm) -- long-term infrastructure vs. short-term cream-skimming. But I have to think that some kind of factional struggle lies behind it, and it would make a more interesting story if there were some real difference between the factions.

The New Republic, not surprisingly, has been consistently in Rahm's corner, but now cub reporter Ari Berman (shown left) has loosed the fateful lightning of The Nation's terrible swift sword with a faux-balanced but objectively pro-Rahm thumbsucker there. Excerpt:

...Like it or not, Dean will be judged on how the party performs in this mid-term election. Party leaders like Emanuel worry that the DNC's effort will be too little, too late--and wonder whether Democrats are doing enough to win the game on the ground.... Whatever short-term plan the DNC has... leaders in labor, the progressive community and the House and Senate working on '06 strategy have yet to see it, prompting fears that Democrats are once again lagging behind the other side....Dean's 50 State Strategy could be the blueprint for his party's revival. But winning elections--particularly this November--would help, too.

So somebody, help me out here -- who's carrying whose water in this nasty little spat?

Beating the bounds

Tim D writes:
This is from my Democratic congressman, Dutch Ruppersberger - perhaps the most reprehensible Democrat in the House honestly. Looks like he has a new plan for Iraq. The "Perimeter Plan" as he callls it. I'm guessing it will be seized upon by Hillary and co. pretty soon.

-----Original Message-----
From: Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger [mailto:imamd02@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Mon 7/3/2006 1:27 PM
Subject: Iraq Update from Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger

Dear Mr. D:

... After returning from my fourth visit to Iraq on June 4, 2006 as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I believe it is time to adopt a new strategy to secure the peace and bring our troops home. Our servicemen and women are doing a remarkable job under tough circumstances. However, they are still policing and patrolling Iraq's urban areas; a dangerous job that should be carried out by Iraqi security forces, not American troops

For this reason, I am advocating a new strategy for Iraq called the Perimeter Plan, which I have presented to President Bush, U.S. Commanders and Generals, and Iraqi leaders.

Under the Perimeter Plan, Iraqi forces will take over policing operations in urban areas so that American troops can move to the outskirts of the cities: away from suicide bombers and IEDs (roadside bombs). U.S. and Coalition forces will be ready to backup Iraqi troops when needed but security will be provided by the Iraqi military. We have trained the Iraq military for more than two years; it is time to cut the apron strings.

I do not believe we should set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. Setting a withdrawal date would jeopardize military operations and would help insurgents prepare for an escalated offensive after our departure.

Changing the mission of U.S. forces, redeploying them to perimeter areas, and lowering the profile of the U.S. forces in urban areas will break the dependency the Iraqi military has on U.S. forces. This Perimeter Plan is the first step in bringing our troops home.

July 4, 2006

JSP loses it, and who can blame him

I've been staring at that muffin-headed nerd, that acolyte of spineless guile and goo-goo, that purveyor of false hope and "in the know" I-don't-know nebulosity, pictured as the author of the Howie vs Rahm update.

Senor don Miguel de la Smiffiosa -- no more such delusion-mongering here. Please Father Smiff, I can't take the bottled-up wrath it induces in me. Either that or have two sites, one for the tough and one for the likes of me -- tender rageniks in need of some digital equivalent of cool bland food and a reclining chair.

What a fury this popinjay provokes in me -- you can see from the puff of his mouth region, he knows nothing, and yet sez candy and crap about it.

And here's the real gut flamer -- he gets to stare out at me anyway, like I just asked him to help me cheat on the chem final.

Death takes a holiday

My friend, ex-foreign service officer and quondam leaker of record, the notorious Mr. Y, sent me this e-mail note:
JS --

The Saddam topple was the neocons' 9/11.

All these idiots running around frantic about what's next, what's next -- hey, has there been anything here since the towers toppled? There won't be anything out of the neocons either.

Well, that may be a little too hasty. We may be overdue for another 9/11, but I'm sure we'll have to wait till we elect a Democrat to the Oval Office before topple talk can reignite at the neocon Berchtesgaden.

As long as we have Cheney in there, newly sober and sore and gut-popped, mumbling sotto-voce "Let's take it step by step this time" -- the world's probably temporarily safe from the further spread of democracy.

Sauce for the goose...

Joe has the guts to say he'll keep going if he loses the Democratic primary -- why not Lamont? Is careerist self-interest a better motive to transcend party loyalty than an end to slaughter?

My hope -- Lieb loses the primary, wins the general, and is welcomed back by the poxed swine now at the party's Washington hub. Then we all can launch for higher ground and leave this infested horror of hackery to its bloody crimes in the name of humanity.

July 6, 2006

Beauty and the beast

According to the AP, la belle Barbara Boxer (left, a very unflattering photo) will be campaigning for that repulsive little ball of filth Joe Lieberman (below, a very flattering photo) in the Connecticut Democratic primary.

Well do I recall the Kosniks' tumultuous welcome for Boxer in Las Vegas; she's the pwogs' Joan of Arc. And here she is campaigning for the pwogs' Beelzebub. I think we have finally found the elusive Democratic "message"; it runs something like this -- "Let's keep each other in office."

Asian delights

Don't the bad boys have all the real fun? Take my man Kim there -- nice fuck-you for Uncle, eh?

Here's my fave donk response so far:

"This has to have gotten China's attention," said Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee. "What some may see as a series of setbacks, I see as a series of opportunities...."
Meanwhile, back in the South, our own Lone Star outfit really rips up some local turf. If you ever want a vicious reminder of what all our expansion of earthwide freedoms is really all about, its never far away.

Wait till our hi-fi boyz try to open up China... I mean really open her up.

Lifestyle over life substance

Here's the one and only Ralph, commenting on the New Democratic follies since '92:
More than any other single issue, save possibly health insurance for all, their reluctance to boldly and visibly champion the living wage has cost them the Presidential and Congressional elections...
... And yet to the party of From-ery, these lower level blue-collars are a no-go. Even if they're not an endangered species, like their upper-level bro's in the industrial unions, these low riders aren't big voters; they buy into Jesus; and they can't pay for delivered favors with donated funds.

It's the yellow-bellied swingers that really rock the Kasbah, cause they share the lib donor elite's fave culture issues: rewards for non-marketable merits, total self-improvement, a brilliant pair of personal children, and sexual liberty.

Oh yeah, and possibly medical immortality.

Barking mad in Connecticut

We always knew Lieberman was a creep, but it just now came clearly into focus, for me at least, that he's also insane. Thanks to the fine folks at antiwar.com, I found this speech, from 2004, delivered to the quaintly-named Committee On The Present Danger (which has to find a new Present Danger every so often):
What we are fighting against is an Islamic terrorist totalitarian movement which is as dire a threat to individual liberty as the fascist and communist totalitarian threats we faced and defeated were in the last century.... What we are fighting against is the prospect of a new evil empire, a radical Islamic caliphate which would suppress the freedom of its people and threaten the security of every other nation's citizens...

Restoring the caliphate -- the seat of secular and ecclesiastical power that existed for centuries across a wide territory -- is their goal.... They would create a new evil empire, stretching from Istanbul to Islamabad, from Khartoum to Kabul, from Kuala Lampur to Bangkok, and beyond.

A new Caliphate! Jeee-hosaphat. And don't you love the "beyond", as applied to Bangkok? What's "beyond" Bangkok? Honolulu? Hollywood?

This demented reverie is clearly the product of some insulated, self-referential, cultic world of discourse. More specifically, it's a case of Caliban determined to see his own face in a mirror.

Some years ago, I was sitting harmlessly in a diner on the upper west side of Manhattan, trying to read a book -- a shallow detective novel, probably -- when two young men, obviously Columbia students, slid into the booth next to me. They were both wearing yarmulkes (so what were they doing in this treyf joint? I dunno, ask them) and they fell to talking about some program they'd just heard. "So -- once we get across the Bosphorus -- it's a cakewalk, all the way to Berlin. Our tanks -- they've got nothing to compare." It took me a while to figure out that what they had in their minds was a fantasy of Israel -- that's the "we" -- dominating Western Europe militarily. And "they", of course, was -- well, everybody in Europe, from Pristina to Paris.

Now in one way these two were crazy, obviously, and in another way not. I bet they graduated from Columbia and got good jobs and I don't suppose they spend much time, these days, fantasizing about Israel as a global power. But their craziness, quite clearly, was a shared craziness, a collective craziness. They had come from a meeting, at an Ivy League university -- a third-rate one, to be sure, but still -- and these were ideas they were hearing bruited about.

Now I can't be absolutely sure that either of them grew up to be Joe Lieberman. I didn't really get a good look. I was mostly listening, and pretending not to, a harder thing than it sounds. But reading Joe's words about the International Caliphate Conspiracy, I couldn't help thinking back to the hothouse world my two zealots lived in. Joe's picture of the Caliphate is an uncanny mirror-image of my guys' apocalyptic vision of Much Much Much Greater Israel.

This stuff about the new Caliphate is utterly mad. But Joe, like my neighbors in that diner, long since razed to make room for Columbia dorms, is not a pathetic solitary madman. He has a community of thought behind him. The Committee on the Present (And Never Ending, You Can Be Sure Of That) Danger includes people who have published books, people who have won prizes. I do believe Saul Bellow was part of it, even before his death became too obvious to deny.

So... we have a guy who's not only vile, but a dangerous, delusional, cultish madman, "representing" the Nutmeg State. And we have nice, well-spoken, good-looking people like Barbara Boxer going to bat for him. Because, forsooth, the Democratic Party is our last best hope.

Well, if that's true, folks -- then we are fucked.

July 10, 2006

Just don't do it

My friend Mr Y, late of the Foreign Service, and author of the infamous Kurdistan-to-the-Caspian option during the Clinton years, has this to say about deadlining pullouts:
The counterargument you hear most often: announce a withdrawal date, and "they" will just wait us out. So I wonder, how would that look different from now?

Face the facts, goo-goo America -- this ends in a civil war either way, and the longer we stay around -- with or without the insurgents laying low -- the more vicious the civil war when we finally do pull out.

We're training these future sectarian forces right now -- it's called the national Iraqi army. The better trained and armed by us these still communally segregated units become, the more formidable the future clash between them will be.

So -- out now! Surprise the bastards. All at once, disappear, bug out, scram for the Kuwait border, race away like thieves. Take the Shia and the Sunni by surprise. That's actually what gives 'em the least amount of time to organize to slaughter each other.

Don't bring 'em home, send 'em somewhere else

Here's an application of the imperial law of conservation of forces -- occupation forces that is. This chap's an ex-Clinton assistant secretary of state, and he's got a clever counter for the Repugs, a finesse move for his fellow donks -- don't call for an Iraq cut-and-run, call for a scram-o-stan -- send US forces now in Iraq not back home -- but to Afghanistan!

Hey, these GWOTniki never say die, do they? An interesting gambit, though. What can it mean?

July 11, 2006

Corporate unionism from Andy Stern

An interesting item, from the Daily Labor Report, reproduced on the lbo-talk mailing list:
Contending that the employer-based health care insurance system is "dead," Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, June 16 called for creation of a new "uniquely" American health care system....

While Stern was not specific about what kind of health-care system he envisions to replace the current one, he did say that the United States has to build its own system, not import a system from Canada or any other country.

Stern, who leads a union that represents 1.8 million members, including about 1 million health care workers, rejected calls for a single-payer, universal health insurance system built on Medicare, which have the support of many others in the labor movement. He said that a new system should have multiple payers, not a single payer. "Single-payer is a stalking horse for I'm not sure what," he said.

Sorta breathtaking, huh? "A stalking horse for I'm not sure what" -- now there's an incisive critique for you.

Stern was talking at an event sponsored by Brookings and the New America Foundation ("Fresh ideas that are neither left nor right" -- only corporate). Even so, it's startling to see a union leader -- and a supposed sansculotte, too, by American standards -- dismissing single-payer out of hand in this cavalier manner.

As the DLR item notes, more than half of Andy's union's members work in the health-care racket in some capacity or other. Under single-payer, which would trim this bloated sector considerably, at least some of these folks would end up looking for jobs elsewhere, and Andy would be a figure of less consequence. So he has cast his lot with the bloodsuckers who own and run the laughably-misnamed American "health-care" industry.

Plus ca change... there's the history of the American labor movement in a nutshell. Scratch brave new Andy and you find old George Meany.

Strikes me that single-payer needs to become a litmus issue, just like out-of-Iraq-now. Anybody who won't unhesitatingly endorse these two inarguably sound ideas isn't worth a second thought or a minute of your time.

Tim D writes -- right

Tim D writes -- right on the mark as usual --
The kind of rhetorical chicanery that the Democrats are stooping to now in order to seem progressive on the issue of health in America has reached new heights in disingenuity. Here is an excerpt from the platform of U.S. Senate hopeful, Ben Cardin:
Ben Cardin believes that it is unacceptable and unconscionable that while America is home to the most advanced health care and medical research facilities in the world, more than 47 million Americans have no health insurance. And each year, the cost of health care continues to skyrocket, making it more difficult for employers to offer, and for families to afford, quality health care.
Astute observation, right? So far so good eh? His proposal for resolving this travesty:
[Ben Cardin] Believes we must fight to expand coverage by building on the current employer-based system of health care. By offering small businesses assistance in securing affordable coverage for their workers, we will make it easier for states to enroll eligible children and parents in the Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This will also allow early retirees between ages 55 and 64 to enroll in Medicare at an affordable premium.
Health industry donations to the Cardin campaign? A whopping $225,800. His top contributor.

Anyway, if all that wasn't amusing enough, get a load of this:

Minority groups are disproportionately affected by cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and other debilitating diseases:

- [Therefore], we must intensify our research efforts to determine both the cause of racial and ethic disparities and how to narrow gaps in health status.

Geeez laweeez...what could be the cause of this disparity?


July 12, 2006

What's old is new again

Alan Smithee writes:
Over at the mighty headquarters of the DNC one must be able to smell the flopsweat for a country mile.  Having no other issues upon which to challange their corporate rivals, the donks are determined to bray long and loud about this bit of old news:

Democrats to highlight Social Security in mid-term elections

Social Security privatization is back on the political agenda, this time with Democrats leading the way by reminding voters of the differences between the Republicans and Democrats in the management of the government retirement program, today's ROLL CALL reports.

Can't you just hear the dem policy rodents scurrying frenziedly about?  And this stale bit of cheddar is all they could come up with.  I'd feel bad for them if I weren't enjoying the schadenfreude so much.


Tim D writes:
This is such overt, shameless demagoguery! Really, how stupid does Obama think the evangelicals are? Okay, they are politically stupid, I admit, but they can definitely see through such a transparent ploy. That said, however, I think talking about public morals a la Martin Luther King Jr. should be an important part of any honest candidate's campaign. National health care, living wage, demilitarization, protecting the environment/workers, political corruption, etc are all moral issues and one need not be apologetic about identifying them as such. We can rest assured though that no Democrat ever will ever adopt such a "moral" message...

ABC News
Obama Tells Dems to Get Religion
Democratic Rising Star Has a Message for His Party

June 29, 2006 --- Democrats need to get religion and mean it, according to Sen. Barack Obama.

Obama took his party to task for ceding faith to the Republican Party at a speech in front of church and lay leaders at the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

"If we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyes's views will continue to hold sway," the Illinois lawmaker said.

The pound of flesh

I didn't know this -- did you?
House Democrats are required to pay between $100,000 and $600,000 in quarterly dues to the DCCC, depending on leadership positions and committee assignments.

Reps. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) and Patrick Kennedy (R.I.) have each exceeded their dues obligation — $300,000 and $150,000, respectively — by $100,000. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) surpassed her $600,000 requirement by $15,000. DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) contributed $70,000 over his $400,000 obligation. Reps. Barney Frank (Mass.) and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) also donated more than required.

Among the 16 Democrats who had yet to make a contribution, despite leaders’ repeated urging and occasional threats, are several members who have been at odds with leaders.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Ga.), who drew national headlines earlier this year for scuffling with a Capitol Police officer, has yet to fork over funds to the DCCC. She drew public rebukes from both Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) for the incident.

Rep. Ed Towns (N.Y.) nearly lost his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee last fall after missing several important budget votes. He has not contributed.

Some members in arrears were likely pooling funds for bids for higher office. Reps. Ben Cardin (Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Harold Ford (Tenn.) all have not contributed to the DCCC but have launched gubernatorial or Senate campaigns.

The other lawmakers not making dues payments are Reps. Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jim Davis (Fla.), Julia Carson (Ind.), Darlene Hooley (Ore.), Brad Miller (N.C.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Del. Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa).

July 13, 2006

Wall Street Follies: Pelosi plays Micawber

'My other piece of advice, Copperfield,' said Mr. Micawber, 'you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and - and in short you are for ever floored.'
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nancy Pelosi is busy reassuring Wall Street that she will be a good girl and not spend any mmoney on those worthless layabouts, the American people, should the Democrats take control of the House this fall:
Pelosi Promises Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win

Minority Leader Says Democratic-Run House Would Target Deficit

July 13, 2006; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pledged that if Democrats succeed next year in rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the money would be used to reduce the federal deficit -- not for new spending....

The California Democrat anticipates some resistance from within her party, but returned to the theme of fiscal prudence in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. When asked to outline the Democrats' agenda, she listed initiatives that she said wouldn't strain the government's coffers: cutting interest rates on student loans, raising the minimum wage and demanding higher royalties from oil companies.

"Not every single dollar" would go to the Treasury, she said, "but I hope that...we would use the rollback of the tax cuts" to address the deficit since "it is the biggest drain...on the next generation."

Pretty clear what's going on here, ain't it? Pelosi figures that at least some of the big-money rats on Wall Street have decided that the Bush administration is a sinking ship. Maybe they're willing to scurry over to the other old scow, if they're reassured that a Pelosi congress will be as kind to ratkind as the Clinton White House was.

July 15, 2006

Hillary represents her constituency

Well, Israel's gone berserk again, and this is what Hillary Clinton has to say:
The unprovoked attacks on innocent Israelis and the killing and abduction of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah are dramatic escalations of violence against Israel. The United States must stand by Israel as she defends herself.

Frick and Frack in the Great Game

From the International Herald Tribune:
We need to be tough with Russia
By John Edwards and Jack Kemp

At a time when the president of the United States has made democracy a central goal of American foreign policy, Russia's political system is becoming steadily more authoritarian....

There is no question that a more democratic, open, transparent Russia would be behaving differently on many issues. A more democratic Russia would be forcefully engaged in efforts to end Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions - and it would be talking openly about the consequences of Iran's defiance....

It would not play host to Hamas. It would not work to kick the United States out of vital bases in Central Asia. It would not be using energy as political leverage....

In other words, it would be a nice docile lapdog state like, oh, Britain.

I know I keep saying this, but plus ca change. Sometimes, reading the headlines, I wonder whether the world has really altered much since the Crimean War. Russia through Tsars and Commissars, kleptocrats and neo-autocrats, remains the uncrackable nut, and Capitoline geese like Kemp and Edwards can be counted on to hiss and honk and flap their wings at the lumbering bear, like Palmerston writ very, very small indeed.

July 17, 2006

Beauty and the beast

Belle of the liberal ball Barbara Boxer has apparently suggested, on CNN, that war criminal Madeleine Albright ought to be sent as a special envoy to the Middle East. I would agree, with the proviso that Albright must parachute into South Lebanon and make her way on foot to Jerusalem. -- Well, okay, she can hitchike, if anybody will give her a lift. I know I wouldn't.

I can't seem to find a direct link to the Boxer-Albright story, but Googling around I did come up with this forgotten gem, from the year 2000. Boxer is on the Larry King show, being asked about the choice of Joe Lieberman for the vice spot on Gore's ticket. Here's what she had to say:

I was surprised, and I might say happily surprised. I think not only was this a bold choice, because when you bring down barriers, you have to be bold. So thank you, Al Gore, for being bold.

But also I think it's a winning choice. He's gone to the mainstream of our party. I think he's gotten a wonderful running mate.

Chuckie Schumer and the animatronic mummy of George McGovern were on the same show, and both praised Gore's world-historically bonehead choice in similar terms. Never say the Democrats can't agree on a message.

Gutenberg "sort of okay," say monks

The Boston Globe has advice for the blog bogs. Aaron or Moses? You decide:
Blogs can help shift the conversation from here's-whom-we-hate to here's what the country needs in order to have 21st-century schools, hospitals, businesses, streets, and nursing homes.

One lesson of American politics is that opponents have to find common ground. Beating the other side into submission doesn't work; neither does waiting for the opposition to see the light.

Another lesson is that politics lags. It can take years for good ideas to become practiced policies. Blogs could do great good by pushing the establishment to shorten this wearying time-table.

The blogosphere has rough neighborhoods full of singeing criticism and fiction masquerading as fact. But, for the most part, blogs are a new frontier for public discourse. They matter. And they could matter even more.

There you have it, folks. Roma locuta.

Hillary: Joe Lieberman in drag

I know, I know, I keep going on about this. But it never fails to amaze me. For a New York politician, fellation of Israel is, you should pardon the expression, de rigueur. But Hillary is not just a New York politician -- not just a Weiner, or a Schumer, or a Nadler, or (may he rest in boiling sulfur) a Moynihan. She expects that some day she is going to go to people in, like, Ohio, and ask them to vote for her. Presumably she thinks that this kind of whoring won't be noticed, or won't bother 'em: from the New York Times:
Speaking at a... rally for Israel... this afternoon, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said she supported taking "whatever steps are necessary" to defend Israel against Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria....

[She] said the United States must show "solidarity and support" for Israel in the face of the "unwarranted, unprovoked" seizure of three Israeli soldiers by members of Hamas and Hezbollah, which she referred to as among "the new totalitarians of the 21st century."

"We will stand with Israel because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones" ....

"It is a message that we want not only those in the Middle East to hear, but the world, because no nation is safe from these terrorist extremists," she said. "They do not believe in human rights, they do not believe in democracy. They are totalitarians, they are the new totalitarians of the 21st century."

Terrorists, extremists, totalitarians -- Hillary m'dear, once you've pulled all the stops out, how do you get any louder? The only item missing is "Nazis", and I bet we hear that analogy from you before the month is out.

Amazing as it may seem, Hillary is not a lunatic. Lieberman is, of course, but I give Hillary more credit -- even though this carpet-chewing word-salad from Hillary is, on its face, no less crazy than Joe's new-caliphate reverie, discussed here a few days ago. Maybe I'm giving Hillary too much credit, but I just can't bring myself to think that she believes this stuff -- in fact, I can't bring myself to think that she believes anything at all. Joe, alas, believes every word of it, I'm afraid.

No, Hillary is reflecting Democratic Party orthodoxy here. That orthodoxy holds that there is and can be no downside to doing and saying whatever Israel wants, because the American people are too stupid to wake up and realize that the candidate seeking their votes has far more loyalty to a foreign power than he or she will ever have to them.

P. T. Barnum once observed that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the public, and Hillary is obviously practicing the Barnum principle. Well. Barnum was no fool, and the cynical view has a certain privileged status -- you might almost say it's the null hypothesis.

Few people who know me well would call me a giddy optimist, but I can't quite embrace the full Barnum/Clinton view. I think the public is going to wake up one of these days -- and I just hope I live to see it.

July 19, 2006

From Boxer to pit bull

Just ran across this unsurprising but accurate UPI report, with the stop-the-presses headline "Experts: Islam-U.S. relations at nadir." You don't say. Among other gems:
The Israeli attack on Lebanon with apparent American blessing only reinforces that view [i.e. negative attitudes toward the US], said Muqtedar Khan, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a periodic adviser to the White House.

"The way we have abandoned Lebanon, I'm not very sure if any moderate Muslims will be able to take a risk (and move toward democracy,)" he said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., disputed that point, saying the Israeli attack was a result of Hezbollah's aggression, and Iranian patronage.

So -- is anybody really surprised that likable, humane, witty Barbara Boxer, Marin County arch-liberal, has lined right up with the other bloody-jowled dawgs of war -- the Liebermans, the Clintons -- in howling her approval of whatever monstrosity Israel chooses to commit? Can I have a show of hands, please? What, nobody? -- Oh, there you are, Kos. Thanks for your candor.

More little ducks all in a row

Here's Great Pwog Hope Russ Feingold on Lebanon:
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold today defended Israel's right to protect itself... saying, "I don't think any country is going to let their soldiers be kidnapped, transported, killed ... without a serious response.... I do think Israel has not only a right but also a responsibility to respond to the Hezbollah attack."

...[H]e argued that Israel had been acting constructively in recent years and blamed Hezbollah, Iran and Syria for provoking the current crisis.

"They are facing a two-front war now, and it's a tiny country," Feingold said of Israel.

Feingold posted a statement on his Web site Friday saying, "I stand firmly with the people of Israel and their government as they defend themselves against these outrageous attacks."

When the roll is called over yonder...

... the Democrats will be there. Thus the Jerusalem Post:
Both chambers of the US congress were working on drafts of resolutions expressing support for Israel in its war against the Hizbullah. The House of Representatives was expected to vote Wednesday on their version of the resolution, which is sponsored by majority leader John Boehner (R-OH) and minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution expressing support for Israel on Tuesday.

The resolution was sponsored by Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and was approved by unanimous consent.

Have Al Gore and Bernie Sanders been heard from yet? It would be a pity not to complete the set.

July 20, 2006

Another one bites the big one

I was wondering about Bernie Sanders and Lebanon. Well, this just in:
Peace activists... rallied outside the office of Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Wednesday night.

"We wanted to have a local response to tell, certainly Congressman Sanders and other people in the region, that we don't support our government giving money to Israel to be bombing civilians indiscriminately," said [a demonstrator].

The group criticized Sanders for his support of Israel, saying Israel had used American funding on arms used to attack Arab civilians.

Rep. Sanders was not in Burlington Wednesday night, but his staff released a statement to reporters. Sanders said his goal is to see a "two-state solution to the problem of Palestine," ... But he says as long as Hamas governs the Palestinian Authority and calls for war with Israel, "there will be no negotiations and no peace in the Middle East."

I can find no trace of this "statement" on any of Sanders' Web sites. My guess is that given the outlook of Sanders' Vermont constituency, he prefers to keep as low a profile as the Lobby will allow him on this issue.

July 21, 2006

From Bernie Sanders' home state...

... a very on-the-mark editorial in the Vermont Guardian:
...[O]ur leaders, including Vermont’s own Bernie Sanders, continue to cast votes in Congress that run counter to our nation’s best interests as they keep an ear cocked toward their vocal and well-financed Israel-first supporters.
Looks like some of Bernie's constituents are onto him.

Yes, but... oh, okay, just yes

From The Hill:
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) approached Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the floor Tuesday evening to see if she would attach her name to the most recent version of a joint resolution supporting Israel in its battle with two militant Islamic groups.

... Pelosi... wanted Republicans to include language asking the two sides to limit civilian casualties.

Boehner... told the minority leader he would bring the resolution to the floor with or without her support.

Pelosi then told him that she would back the measure, and even make a floor statement supporting it....

It's a miracle, really, that she would even ask. It does suggest some concern that elements of the base may be a little uncomfortable -- at long last -- about Israel's Guernica tactics. Nan would like to have something to tell these folks, so they'll go back into their zombie-like daze and pull the right lever in November.

Of course, when she didn't get anything to tell them, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, in essence, Oh well, fuck 'em. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

July 23, 2006

From the sublime -- no, from the ridiculous to the more ridiculous

I've always instinctively loathed Bill Maher. I couldn't even tell you why, except that his smirk puts him into a category for which my private-language term is "reactionary cynicism." (I'm a bit of cynic myself, of course, but that's a whole nother thing.)

Anyway. You wait long enough and sooner or later a guy will show you why you had a Doctor Fell response to him. Bill has finally come through:

... watching George Bush talk about Israel the last week has reminded me of a feeling that I hadn't felt in so long I forgot what it felt like: the feeling of pride when your president says what you want your president to say, especially in a matter that chokes you up a bit.... on Israel, I love it that a U.S. president doesn't pretend Arab-Israeli conflict is an even-steven proposition.... There was no entity of Arabs called "Palestine" before Israel made the desert bloom. If those 600,000 original Palestinian refugees had been handled with maturity by their Arab brethren, who had nothing but space to put them, they could have moved on....

.... the feeling I've had watching Israel defend herself and a US president defend Israel [is]... I LOVE being on the side of my president, and mouthing "You go, boy" when he gets it right.

One side of me wants to think he's trying to be ironical here, and another, stronger side -- the one that's always found Maher a smug, repellent, self-congratulatory little creep -- wants to think he's being -- well, "serious" is never the right word for any Israel apologist, but what I mean is, he really means it.

Here's the new Democratic Party base

From the Wall Street Journal:
ELMHURST, Ill. -- At her home in this Chicago suburb, 68-year-old Alice Doyle has a sign in her front window for the Republican candidate for governor. But on a recent morning, she joined a small group at her neighbor's house to lend support to the Democrat running for Congress in this historically Republican district. The candidate, Tammy Duckworth, 38, is an Iraq-war veteran and double amputee. Her subject at the coffee this day is public funding for medical research using embryonic stem cells. She endorses it....

While Mr. Bush's position cheers religious and social conservatives in the Republicans' base, nationwide it has alienated many moderates and has some questioning their fealty to a party increasingly defined by its cultural conservatism....

Moreover, as the party has grown more socially conservative over the past quarter-century, the suburbs where many Republicans live have become more diverse and politically independent, marked by a mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism....

That, in turn, has Democrats hoping to capture some of their foes' strongholds, by picking up disgruntled Republican moderates as well as independents....

[State senator Kirk] Dillard illustrates the way the stem-cell issue has split his party. He switched to support funding for research in the state Senate, imploring, "How can you not be for this?" In an interview, he says he was influenced by advocates from nearby Children's Memorial Hospital and a local pediatrician.

Mae Pearson, a 77-year-old widow at the Duckworth coffee, [said] "I was raised Republican -- strong Republican -- and I thought it was so wonderful to move to DuPage County after I got married" in 1950, she says. "But it's just too hard to be a Republican anymore because it's not the Republican Party I grew up in."

"Embryos count, people don't," complains George Strejcek, 62. He and wife Elizabeth, 58, describe themselves as former Republicans. "Goldwater I could tolerate," he says. "But with these Republicans, they forget we live in a democracy, not a theocracy."

"They're not fiscally responsible either," his wife says.

There you have it. The Democrats are pinning their hopes on people who really respect doctors, and who believe in "fiscal conservatism," and who used to be Republicans, and are even older than I am. Alas for the party of Andrew Jackson and William Jennings Bryan.

July 24, 2006

The oracle inhales the vapors...

When I venture to make a prediction, I'm always wrong -- well, nearly always -- but sometimes a guy just can't resist the urge to make a fool of himself. I've sat down again on my tripod over the navel of the earth, and the gods have vouchsafed me a vision of the October Surprise. The details are hazy, but here are the broad outlines:

Sometime late this summer or early in the fall, the War On Terror opens a new front. Maybe it will be Iran, or Syria, or maybe just US troops back in Lebanon, conducting fraternal Indian wars with the Israelis at our side, Huck and Jim in flak jackets.

Yeah, that's the ticket -- Lebanon. The Israelis will be the new Brits, and Beirut the new Normandy. There'll also be a NATO figleaf -- Tony Blair will send a few yobbos from Manchester, and maybe the Germans will get with the program this time, if Merkel's neck isn't still out of joint.

But the main point of it is that Israeli yobbos and Americn yobbos will be standing shoulder to shoulder, pouring ordnance into Lebanese apartment buildings. From the electoral point of view, that's the beauty of it: the Democrats will have to -- not just shut up, but applaud, and fall into line, and cheer on the Commander-In-Chief, because it'll be a joint Israel-US project, and you can't attack it without attacking Israel.

All Bozo has to do is send the Marines to Lebanon again -- part of a joint expeditionary force with the light-unto-the-nations -- and the Democrats will be hogtied, gagged, and hamstrung.

Maybe Israel will even take a few casualties -- lose a little ground -- contrive, if necessary, a sanguinary rocket attack on Haifa. So Uncle will have to go in and save 'em. Yeah! That's the ticket! Save Israel! That's why the censorship is letting out all this stuff about how Hizbollah is proving tougher than anybody thought.

You heard it here first.

Kos triangulates -- tetrangulates -- hypercubulates?

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga proves himself a thinker worthy to reside on the shelves of Pantagruel's Library of St Victor, home of the chimaera bombinans in vacuo:
Some people are surprised that I said that out-of-staters won't tell the local who to vote for in CT (or anywhere else, for that matter). But if that's the case, then what are bloggers like me doing?

We're supporting the efforts of local activists. That's what we're doing. I have no influence whatsoever on who locals vote for. But I can help generate the activism and money that's necessary for Ned Lamont to make his case to the people of his state. See the distinction?

Well, no, Kos, I don't. Looks to me like you're hedging your bets.

July 25, 2006

Distinguished members of the Con-gresset

A good one here:
Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members of the House, urging House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to cancel Wednesday's address to Congress by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the theory that his condemnation of Israeli attacks on Lebanon put him at odds with U.S. policy.

The letter reads: "The Speaker's podium reflects our nation's values. We the Members of the House, under your leadership, decide who receives that honor, and the list should not include anyone whose interests conflict with the United States."

The Democratic House members wrote to inquire about how Maliki was chosen to receive the honor, and have asked for an apology.

Who's the Sultan's favorite harem girl?

You'd think, as old as I am, that nothing could surprise me any more about American politicians' servility to Israel. But it gets me every time. How -- I ask myself -- how is it possible that nothing has changed since 1982, not to say 1967?

The latest Israeli attack on a neighboring state finds Republicans and Democrats engaged in a grovelling game of leapfrog, trying to see who can jump farther and crouch lower in obeisance to the Light Of The Nations (LOTN). Bush and company are shipping 'em high explosives in quantities the Condor Legion could only dream of. The Democrats, like the Pope, have no legions to send, but also like some of the nastier Popes of old, they yield to none in their devotion to the policing of thought. So the Democrats are trying to outflank the Bushies by attacking their pet Iraqi, prime minister Maliki, who has apparently been so tactless as to suggest that maybe the Israelis shouldn't be bombing Lebanon into the Stone Age.

Twenty-odd Congressional Democrats, led by the sometime Israeli auxiliary soldier Rep. Rahm Emanuel, have written a frothing letter to Denny Hastert. Some excerpts:

In the wake of comments made by Mr. Maliki and other members of the Iraqi leadership denouncing Israel, it is clear that their foreign policy goals are at odds with those of the United States. The Speaker's podium reflects our nation's values. We the Members of the House, under your leadership, decide who receives that honor, and the list should not include anyone whose interests conflict with the United States.
Note the taken-for-granted identification of Israel's megalomaniac ambitions with American interests.

It's hard to find words to describe the comical craziness of all this. I guess the 2006 election is going to be all about who's a bigger toady to Israel.

Oh, among the other signatories to Rahm's oath of supremacy: Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Il.), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Michael McNulty (D-NY), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), William Delahunt (D-Mass.), C.B. Maloney (D-NY), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tim Bishop (D-NY), Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.). Barney Frank, that pwog hero, is a particularly juicy item on the platter.

July 26, 2006

Another zombie shuffles out of the AIPAC graveyard

From the indispensable Fox News:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that al-Maliki's failure to retreat from his comments on Israel or to criticize Hezbollah and Hamas, the terror group elected to lead the Palestinian people, is unacceptable.

"Unless Mr. Maliki disavows his critical comments of Israel and condemns terrorism, it is inappropriate to honor him with a joint meeting of Congress," Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

One of our commenters asked for the full text of the letter Rahm and the Zionics (sounds like a garage band, doesn't it?) sent to Hastert. Here is is, from the Chicago Tribade, er, Tribune:
Dear Speaker Hastert:

We are writing to object to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's planned address to Congress this Wednesday. In the wake of comments made by Mr. Maliki and other members of the Iraqi leadership denouncing Israel, it is clear that their foreign policy goals are at odds with those of the United States. The Speaker's podium reflects our nation's values. We the Members of the House, under your leadership, decide who receives that honor, and the list should not include anyone whose interests conflict with the United States.

On Wednesday, July 19th, in reference to the conflict in Lebanon, Prime Minister Maliki said, "I condemn these aggressions and call on the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo to take quick action to stop these aggressions. We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression."

Additionally, the Iraqi Parliament voted unanimously to condemn Israel, calling Israel's actions "criminal aggression." These comments and actions are in direct conflict with the position of both President Bush, and the United States House of Representatives which voted 410-8 to support "Israel's right to take appropriate action to defend itself, including to conduct operations both in Israel and in the territory of nations which pose a threat to it, which is in accordance with international law, including Article 51 of the United Nations Charter."

This is not the first time that Iraqi leadership has made statements in conflict with the interests and policy of the United States. Today, 50 Members of Congress sent President Bush a letter denouncing the hate filled comments of Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani.

But our concerns go beyond these statements. In recent months there have been extensive reports indicating that Maliki and many in the Iraqi leadership are increasingly influenced by the government in Iran. Further, they have expressed support of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the latter of which was responsible for the death of 241 United States Marines in Beirut. The House should not allow an address from any world leader who has taken such action.

This is a disturbing and dangerous trend. The goal of the invasion in Iraq was not to remove one threat in favor of another. The President's stated goal was to establish a strong liberal democracy in Iraq, which would help to bring stability to the Middle East. The aforementioned comments and actions raise serious questions about the success of this mission.

With evidence mounting that the Iraqi leadership's goals are not in the best interests of the United States -- nor the Middle East -- Prime Minister Maliki's address is inappropriate. We are unaware of any prior instance where a world leader who worked against the interests of the United States was afforded such an honor. We would like to know how Prime Minister Maliki was chosen to receive the honor, and absent an apology by the Prime Minister, urge you to cancel the address.

The party of really, really small ideas

The LA Times reports on the DLC's Denver powwow. Their sum-up: 'Pocketbook issues form the core of a Leadership Council centrist plan to produce party members who are more "practical" and "accepting." '

The Fromniks, with St Hill front and center, offer a few derisory clip-joint pick-me-ups to a sagging jobholder nation:

... make college tuition and home-buying more accessible, expand the availability of healthcare, and provide greater retirement security...
As economic planks in a party platform... well, stirring stuff, eh? The LAT comments:
Over three days of workshops and panel discussions, there was much sober talk of pension portability, regional skill alliances, performance-based governing and the like ....closing tax loopholes, ending corporate subsidies and squeezing inefficiencies from the government...
Best of show, I thought:
... establishing a "baby bond" program for low- and middle-income families that would provide each child with a $500 savings bond at birth and another 10 years later...
Needless to say, foreign policy discussion was, shall we say, muted -- just a scattering of sour gripes, lead pipes, and long-grass snipes, that glued into one piece, spells "trust us."

The LAT piece struck a charmingly snide tone -- I like this line in particular: the conference was referred to as "another installment in the party's search for itself."

Them Russkis, gotta love 'em

Just when you thought the world was safely unipolar --

Chavez in Russia:

The visit by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Russia is taking the media by storm, with one news agency reporting he has attracted much attention with his "emotional and spontaneous behaviour".

"He calls Christ the first socialist in the world; George Bush an alcoholic; pro-Washington Latin American presidents poodles of imperialism", writes Andrey Yashlavskiy in the Moskovskiy Komsomolets daily.

.... The Kommersant daily prefers to concentrate on the political dimension to the visit, during which Mr Chavez is expected to sign arms deals.

"Venezuela gets armed with Russia" write Mikhail Zygar and Tatyana Dmitriyeva.

"Moscow expects bumper arms contracts from the visit," they say, while Venezuela's eyes are on "setting up an anti-American oil bloc".

"Thus Moscow, which has just hosted the G8 summit, shows once again that, when the chance comes, it may respond to criticism from the West by making a sharp U-turn towards the West's foes."

Putin and another archfiend:
President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have discussed the Lebanon crisis and tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme, the Kremlin said.

The two leaders spoke by telephone yesterday, a brief statement said. Ahmadinejad arrived yesterday in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan for a two-day visit.

.... Ahmadinejad warned yesterday that the conflict between Lebanon and Israel could trigger “a hurricane” of broader fighting in the Middle East.

.... The Bushehr nuclear plant that is at the centre of the controversy over whether Iran intends to build nuclear weapons is Russian-built.

Russia, as UN Security Council member with veto power, has resisted Western proposals to slap Iran with sanctions....

Russia also has stepped up efforts in recent months to exert influence in the Middle East, including contacts with Hamas after the militant group won Palestinian elections.

It hosted a high-level Hamas delegation at Putin’s invitation in March, when Moscow broke ranks with other members of the so-called Quartet of Mideast negotiators but failed to persuade the militant group to soften its anti-Israel stance and renounce its goal to seek Israel’s destruction.

Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said this month that Russia was using its contacts with radical Muslims, including Hamas, to try to promote a resolution of the escalating confrontation.

Dean: off his meds again

From the Associated Press:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an "anti-Semite" for failing to denounce Hezbollah for its attacks against Israel....

"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," the Democratic leader told a gathering of business leaders in Florida. "We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."

Uhh, Howie -- "defending democracy in Iraq?" Is that what we've been doing? My, haven't you changed your tune.

These AIPAC Democrats -- which is to say, 99 out of 100 Democrats -- will literally say anything they're told to say. Stop making sense? No problem, boss. If AIPAC called up and said that from now on, two plus two equals five, every last one of 'em would have a press release out within the hour, shrilly denouncing recalcitrant Four-ists as anti-Semites.

Barbara Boxer recently suggested that we should send Madeleine Albright as a special envoy to Lebanon, and I agreed, on one condition. Subject to the same proviso, I suggest we send Howie to Iraq to look for some nice pro-Israel Iraqis to whom we can "turn over" the puppet regime.

Video at 11. Parental discretion advised.

It just gets better

I know, I'm turning into Johnny One-Note here, but I can't help it -- it's so delightful seeing the Mommy Party expose itself as the Mommy Dearest Party. This from my new friends at Fox News, which no doubt has its own reasons for playing this story up:
About a dozen Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate boycotted [al-Maliki's] speech, citing al-Maliki's refusal to condemn the terror group that is currently fighting Israel in southern Lebanon.

"We understand that the prime minister has to say political things, but the long-term here is that if you mollycoddle terrorists, you give them license to continue," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y. "Hezbollah's function is to destroy and eliminate the state of Israel. They and their ilk would then have as their goal the destruction of all secular society throughout the region. And that is not the hand he should be strengthening long-term."

Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California also did not attend....

...Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaking after the address, said he asked al-Maliki directly if he believes Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and the prime minister wouldn't respond....

"We kept pressing and he kept sidestepping," Ackerman said of [a conversation with al-Maliki]. "He refused to say the things we needed him to say."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also said she was not satisfied with al-Maliki's response to questions about his support for Hezbollah.

"During his address, Prime Minister Maliki spoke with conviction about 'the terrorists who are falsely claiming to be speaking for Islam and Muslims.' He missed an opportunity to single out groups fitting that description, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and condemn their activities. If defeating terrorism is indeed the duty of all of us, as the prime minister proclaimed, the road to victory starts with identifying the enemy," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

I like Ackerman's unintentionally self-revealing line -- "he wouldn't say the things we needed him to say." That is very much the point, isn't it?

I'm starting to wonder whether the October Surprise hasn't just happened. And the Democrats, of course, have landed a right hook, and a left uppercut, and judo kicks with both legs, deep into the Tar Baby's sticky innards.

Query: Why is Fox News so happy to trumpet the utterances of Pelosi, and Dean, and God help us Ackerman on this subject?

Reform or removal?

A correspondent writes:
BOPnews had a nice post up explaining why "Moving the Democratic party to a reliance on small donors, and off money from various industries is job one. And it's job one not just because it will lead to better policy - it's job one because it will lead to Democrats being able to champion causes believed in by the majority of the population. In other words, it'll lead to victory."


Maybe you would rather see the Democrats shrivel and die (and thus make way for a third party) than actually get their act together and win. Nevertheless the information in that post is priceless, IMHO, for explaining to Dems why their cowardly electoral strategy leads to defeat rather than safety.

I'd be delighted to eat all my scornful words about the Democrats if they should ever become "a party able to champion causes believed in by the majority of the population." I just don't think it's very likely. On balance, I think it's easier to sweep 'em off the stage of history and start over, than it is to reform them.

July 27, 2006

Why does this seem so funny to me?

From The Note:
After gathering for a rare joint caucus, House and Senate Democrats will join together in the Russell Senate Swamp at 1:45 pm ET to call for a New Direction for America. Speakers will include Sen. Reid, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Pelosi, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).
I'm trying to think of analogies here. Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, and Stegosaurus announced today a New Direction for Ornithischia?

The oracle speaks

This Zionic Leb-krieg seems to have legs, so I checked in with the man himself -- the guy Sandy Berger called "that facetious preppie dickhead," our one and only link to the Foreign Service/NSC mindset, the renowned Mr Y (Of Arabia, in this case). Interview follows.

P: This Lebaon biz has its unfurling complexity, eh?

Y: Well, I suppose it does to the chittering horde of unscarred armchir strategists. [Sighs wearily] One can always elaborate this stuff, fabricate, out of whole cloth conflicting premeditations, and the like. But I prefer to look at the events themselves, at least so far as we can view them, and I see a very simple drama here, really -- one perhaps waiting offstage for a decent moment to spring itself upon the world, to be sure.

P: And that would be... ?

Y: Why, obviously, a king-hell IDF rampage. My guess is, they like the idea they're up against a real guerrilla force here -- not just young gals in blast belts. It ought to run for a while, at least till Syria is forced to play some cards.

P: Can the outside do anything?

Y: The French and their German consorts may eventually send in troops. I underline 'eventually.' Interlarding the rough edge between these two toughs could be very hazardous at the present time, so don't count on a civilized intervention till the Zionian forces have kicked a lot more stuffing out of the Hezzery. If they can, of course. I doubt the Euros want a serious piece of any suppression action.

P: Our man Smith seems inclined toward a US Marine landing scenario.

Y: [snickers] Far be it from me to gainsay Father Smith, what with his deep ties to the Maronite community and the Falange -- but I'd place my bets on a pure IDF operation. Nooo, I expect we won't see fighting jarheads dancing through the minds of voters come November, as aesthetically pleasing as that might seem now. I think the Mini-Me's will play the role all by themselves -- until, and I should add, if, both sides eventually allow in a new middle force like the Franco-German bid.

Needless to say, uncle will need to endorse whatever deputation goes there from the enlightened north of the planet -- but US boots on the beach? I'd say no. Even if the plan calls for a blitz to Damascus, this will remain a Light Of The Nations folly throughout.

P: Okay then, give me a time scale here -- from now to status quiet or quit.

Y: Damned if I know. It's a tiger ride over there right now, since neither side looks even winded to me. It could be a long waltz. Then again, its hard to tell what inside this feels like to the Israelis. They have their solid reasons both to overplay Hezzy fortitude, and underplay their own objectives. So we'll likely get the usual mishmash of cross-eyed BS in public statements and planted Op-Edery.

By the way, Father Smith's suggestion to parachute Ms. Albright into the area of conflict is an ace of a play. In fact, Nazrullah, if you're listening -- if Albright does get substituted for the younger, more agile, entirely irresistible but less wily Condi -- don't let that owly old she-witch mug of hers fool you. Watch your shins. In the clutches she's a regular Rosa Klebb.

And to be fair, she was not always old and monstrous. At Foggy Bottom it was always rumored that as a youngster, to make her bones, she whacked the estimable Doctor Che, whilst in a mountaintop love-nest embrace.

Another kosnik bites the dust

It seems we have, or had, a fan at Daily Kos -- a lady (or perhaps a chap, of course) called 'ladufarge', who wrote me yesterday and asked to cross-post an item about Howard Dean and Israel.

Of course I said yes, and of course the poor girl has now been banned. I took the unusually promethean step of saving the post, and the dozens of furious comments it evoked, though.

What I didn't save -- and I'm sorry now, because I found it very interesting -- was a poll 'ladufarge' put up several days ago, asking Kosniks whether they approved or disapproved of Israel's actions in Lebanon. To my utter astonishment, the responses disapproved by a margin of three to one. The poll has now apparently been chucked into the Kosnik memory hole, alas. Interestingly, though the poll figures were overwhelmingly anti-Israel, the comments were nearly all hardline Dershowitz talking points. Dissenters will vote but they know better than to speak up. But votes must be tracked by user -- or you could vote twice. I wonder whether Kos has yet realized he could have a lucrative sideline selling the logs to the ADL.

Anyway, the comments to ladufarge's repost of my Dean thing were interesting, in a grim kind of way. The largest single component consisted of True Believers lauding Dean for his deep political cunning. The second largest component were suggestions that ladufarge was a "troll" -- to which my girl responded, rather wittily I thought, that if we could harness the energy Kosniks expend typing the word 'troll' millions of times, we could eliminate our dependence on imported oil. Third largest were the complaints that we should be concentrating on electing Democrats, and should never, never ask why. Then there were a few oddities: a couple of contributors who found the "off the meds" expression hurtful because they had mental illness in the family -- a claim I can well believe -- and one or two poor out-of-place souls who actually agreed with the post.

I hadn't read Kos for several weeks and I was shocked at how the site had degenerated in that short time. It was always a bit of a bore, but now it's a shrill, hysterical, paranoid, one-note bore. The cultish quality I sensed in the air when I infiltrated their Vegas conclave has become much more pronounced. Apparently nothing fails like success.

July 28, 2006

Meanwhile, on the home front

Speaking as the take-over-or-split-it wing of the stop-me movement, I submit this for your consideration re the '08 party platform:

The party left needs to throw up a few wildly divisive draft planks, not cultural but of the tax variety. Like a net-worth tax on the one percenters, and a payroll tax cut on SSI.

Nothing new here, of course, but the notion is, let's smoke out the money-changers' party familiars, then let's attack the foreign aid budget -- no more arms tech for anybody. That oughta smoke out some stooges too.

Plank battles like these -- not gay marriage and abortion and gun control -- will get at the real wire-pulling fiends

On another popular topic: forget campaign reform. That's changing the frame, while it's the picture inside that's ugly.

As I mentioned with other words in a comment here -- want to stop big money or Zionic influence? Well -- if you promise to screw 'em they won't donate.

Of course this is an impossible dream, but the point is to force the fiends to answer the musical question, "why the fuck not?"

July 31, 2006

Shhh! I'm hunting twolls!

Damned if ole Smiff, the Father Divine of political comedy, hasn't got me Kos-watchin' again.

I liked this in particular, from the great muscular pharisee himself, "hunter" of trollology fame:

This site is for democrats. (0 / 0)
If you're "dedicated to the deconstruction of the Democratic Party", as the masthead of the site you linked to has it, this isn't the place for you.

I wish people who hated this site would have the basic willpower to keep the hell away from it. It really isn't too difficult.

by Hunter on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 12:25:25 AM PDT"

My view, he misses the point. If a little trolling can so stir the Kos hive... well, what cheap sport for an imp trapped in a job cubicle. The troll expends a lot less energy than the anti-troll immune system.

A second hunter's point:

And I find it fascinating, (0 / 0)
just as a random aside of something I've seen over and over, that the sites that claim to be most leftist tend to quote places like Fox News and the Note with regularity. I think it tends to demonstrate that the primary dedication of many self-declared leftists is obstruction and contrarianism in the name of "purity", and they don't particularly care whose hands they shake or what actual ideals they espouse in service to that contrarianism....

All their energy is spent being purer than the next "liberal" guy....

A true pragmatist, 'hunter' is saving his strength for the real fight against
... the actual conservatives and neocons that they keep saying they'll get around to helping to defeat, just as soon as they're done polishing their own... um... nobility.
Liberals can never see themselves as a menace to social progress. How could that possibly be the case? We lefties must be into some superiority dance of self-perfectionism.

I personally don't care much for perfection -- can't speak for anybody else, of course -- but yeah, I'm for building a machine out of real people parts. And my hunch is it wouldn't be all that better or worse then the Kos-borg. But i'd work out my mission statement first. And that might entail a split with all organized Orthrian goonery.

Yes, a split will suffice... for now. I'll save the"liquidation" of all wavering "middle forces" till I have state power firmly in my grasp.

Careful -- it might be a trap

Et tu, gray lady?

It's all over the map already: the New York Times has endorsed Lamont over that nutmeg muppet of Fort Zion, das Lieber-fiend.

Why, why, why? This can't be good. The Times, choosing just this moment to stab the pre-eminent acolyte of Mini-Me in the back?

There's a fair foulness in the air, dear hearts.

To the pure all things are pure

A earlier post evoked a discussion of "purism". Crackpot realists like the Kosniks tend to think of anybody to their left as a "purist". Stanley Rogouski made the following trenchant comment, which pretty much says it all:
Things I'm a purist about:
  1. The First Amendment
  2. The right to an abortion
Things I can debate about:
  1. Tolls on the NJ Turnpike
  2. Taxes
Things the Kos/Atrios crowd is purist about:
  1. Support for Israel
  2. No third parties, ever.
Things the Kos/Atrios crowd is willing to negotiate away:
  1. The First Amendment
  2. The right to an abortion

Le Hump vs. Lamont

The Gray Lady's coverage of the Lieberman-Lamont mano-a-mano remains oddly, perhaps ominously, delightful (when you find yourself agreeing with the Times, something doesn't add up).

I've always thought the picture choices in the Times say a lot more than the copy ever does, and in this case, we have an oddly-cropped picture of Lieberman and endorser Ken Salazar, in a strange ambiguous pose that suggests they just finished enjoying a spot of frottage. This disquieting image is contrasted with a very engaging picture of Lamont, who has apparently just cracked a straight-faced joke which has given a hearty laugh to two African-Americans. The latter picture is so charming that you really wish you had been there to hear the exchange. Excerpt:

Mr. Lieberman brought in his own Democratic Party stalwarts, including Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated war veteran, who tried to defuse the central issue that has left the three-term senator struggling to win his party’s nomination: the war in Iraq.

“I know what war is all about,” said Mr. Inouye, who received the Medal of Honor for his combat service in World War II. “I’ve seen friends shattered, I’ve seen heads being blown off. I am here because I believe Joe Lieberman is a good, good American patriot.

“It pains me to see us become a one-issue party,” he added. “There are many issues, not just the war.”

.... Although he demonstrated for civil rights in the 1960’s, Mr. Lieberman has been criticized as a lukewarm defender of affirmative action in recent years, and his vice-presidential candidacy was questioned by prominent black officials like Representative Maxine Waters of California.

....Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado... described Mr. Lieberman senator as “a man who votes with his heart.” Later, Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut arrived to bolster their longtime colleague; Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey is planning to appear today with Mr. Lieberman....

Lots to love in this. My favorite is the "although he demonstrated for civil rights" trope. Guy shows up at a demonstration or two, forty years ago, and it's news -- according to the Times -- that this doesn't give him a free pass for the rest of his life.

The there's the bit about "voting with his heart." That part, at least, I can believe. If there's anything at all in that leathery, desiccated organ, it's Israeli chauvinism, moralizing sadism, and metastatic self-regard. .

Wonderful, isn't it, how all the Democratic honchos are lining up behind him? I've said it before, but maybe it bears repeating: Never say the Democratic Party isn't about something.

In the very same issue of the Times, a poll is reported:

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows what one expert describes as a continuing “chasm” between the way Republicans and Democrats see the war. Three-fourths of the Republicans, for example, said the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, while just 24 percent of the Democrats did.
So. Three-quarters of the Democratic "base" have left Joe behind; but the people's tribunes like Salazar and Clinton mere et pere and Boxer and on and on and on, are still headed right down the toilet with the stercoraceous little creep. What conclusion do we draw from this picture, kids?

About July 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in July 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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